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Ruffles, fashion's wavy extra, add trademark feminine flair to unsuspecting silky blouses, the bottom of cropped jackets, and along the hemline of skinny trousers.

Ruffles, or ruffs, first appeared along the neckline of men's shirts during the Renaissance. Yet with each passing century, menswear became plainer and womenswear more dramatic. By the 18th century, they were the extravagant favorites of the monarchy. Marie Antoinette loved 'em.

During the 19th century, ruffles started to disappear, thanks to the proliferation of menswear-inspired shirtwaists on ladies of means. However, shortly after World War I, they re-emerged in layers on flappers' dancing dresses.

Since then, ruffles have been a part of the standard fashion repertoire, although they were more prevalent during certain decades. (Think flamenco dancers in the 1930s, princess gowns of the 1950s, flower children of the 1970s, and girls-just-wanna-have-fun vibes of the '80s.)

Fast-forward to the early 2000s, and ruffles made miniskirts interesting, and strapless evening dresses jazzed up, delighting girlie girls everywhere. Last spring, they were the sultry accent on ubiquitous off-the-shoulder tops. And during this unapologetically feminine spring, they are all over the place.

Who is wearing them? Brie Larson had them on a cobalt Oscar de la Renta gown worn on this year's Academy Awards red carpet. Emma Roberts and Selena Gomez have been spotted in ruffled summer frocks. Michelle Obama once wore a bell-sleeved shirt that had ruffles. And, of course, there are those of us interested in adding a little sizzle to an otherwise boring silhouette.

How should you wear them?

Carefully. They are extra-cute on blouses. Moderation is key, as very few of us have Prince's panache.

High Profile on 04/16/2017

Print Headline: Ruffles return on spring frocks

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